February 5, 2012 It's My Turn to See What I Can See
I got a speeding ticket in November. When the cop pulled me over, he asked the expected question: “Do you know how fast you were going?”
“No, sir. I’m sorry. I just got some really good news and I wasn’t paying attention.”
“What’s your news?”
“I’m going to the South Pole.”
Now, three months later, I’m in Fairbanks, Alaska for PolarTREC training and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve been involved with the IceCube project since 2009 and I never thought I’d actually get the chance to travel to the South Pole.
I originally trained to be part of the support team for another PolarTREC teacher (Casey O’Hara). Kristen Forzley, Katey Shirey, and I were going to be his “ground control” team when he went to the Pole. Casey went and had a great time. The following year, it was Katey’s turn to travel and this was an important season. The construction of the IceCube telescope was to be completed while Katey was in the field. It was a very exciting time for everyone involved with the project, but it was bittersweet for me because I realized that, as construction ended, so did my chances of going to the South Pole.
Construction of IceCube was finished on December 18, 2010, seven days after Katey left the South Pole.
Two years later, I got an email from the researcher, Jim Madsen, asking if I might still be interested in travelling with IceCube. I responded as quickly as I could type – “Yes!”
So, here I am in Fairbanks.
There are several other teachers here who will all be travelling to the Arctic or Antarctic. Today was our first day of training and we spent a lot of time getting to know each other. We’ve been learning about each other’s projects, too. It’s a challenge to remember which person goes with which project and in what locale -- was it Ms Scarlet in Prudhoe Bay with the seismographs? – but it’s really interesting to hear what everyone will be working on. I’m looking forward to following all of their expeditions.
I’m also much more careful about going the speed limit.
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